The first two rounds of this long Aaron Rodgers-The Packers drama produced fireworks — especially in the 2021 offseason — but no separation. Although Rodgers headlines have been an NFL constant for the past three years, the third round is upon us.
After two years of Rodgers and the Packers retreating and finding common ground, both parties are aware that the long-talked-about divorce could finally come to fruition. The Packers trading Rodgers at some point this offseason is a “very real scenario,” reports ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (video link).
A deal would be complicated, due to Rodgers’ complex extension agreed in March 2022, and would not be expected to involve any NFC suitors. The Packers shouldn’t be expected to send the four-time MVP to the AFC, adds Schefter (video link). Rodgers was tied to AFC teams — primarily the Broncos — for two offseasons, but he patched things up with the Packers two years ago and signed the three-year, $150.8 million extension months earlier. late. Denver moved on, via the Russell Wilson trade, but other AFCers will be interested if Rodgers truly becomes a trade chip.
Rodgers, 39, owes a $58.3 million bonus this year, and while the future Hall of Famer said he hasn’t committed to playing a 19th season, it would be quite a surprise if it goes away considering money in this equation. Structured as an option bonus, the monster payout only translates to a cap of $31.6 million – if Rodgers is a Packer in 2023. If Rodgers is dealt, however, the team acquiring the superstar passer the would have on his books at just $15.79 million in 2023. That should increase the aging QB’s trade value.
Because the option can be paid any time before the season, the Packers have months to decide on a trade. However, Rodgers being dealt early would help him acclimate to his next team and give the Packers more time to prepare for Love’s starting first season. The Packers would be better served to trade their current starter after June 1, when the kill would be just $15.8 million (with a $24.5 million charge in 2024). A trade before June 1 would mark the pack with a dead cap hit of $40.3 million.
Rodgers said a contract adjustment would have to happen for him to play in 2023, citing the nearly $60 million bonus, but he’s willing to make such a move to welcome the Packers or another team.
“There’s a lot of teams, because of COVID, that are running out of money, and you see with a lot of different contracts, they’re pushing more money into the deals“, Rodgers said during his last Pat McAfee Show appearance (via ESPN.com’s Rob Demosky). “They create blank years to allow easier reaching of the ceiling so there should be some tweaking of course.”
Matt LaFleur said he wanted Rodgers back, and Brian Gutekunst did not entertain the prospect of a trade earlier this month. But the sixth-year general manager noted Jordan love is ready to play. Green Bay must decide on the fully guaranteed 2024 option of the old first round by May. Gutekunst said a scenario in which the team deploys a Rodgers-Love depth chart for a fourth straight year is in play, but a trade would both clear a love path and arm the Packers with valuable capital. repechage. The Packers should be expected to seek at least two first-round picks, writes Peter King of NBC Sports.
Of course, the Packers would run the risk of a big drop in QB quality by trading Rodgers. The franchise has enlisted Hall of Fame-bound talent in this position since 1992. It has, however, performed the Brett Favre-to-Rodgers — an awkward but effective stint that happened before Favre’s season at 39 — by trading Favre to the Jets during training camp in 2008. Rodgers turned 39 last month. The 15-year-old Packers starter has gone from first QBR in 2021 to 26th this season. Green Bay’s diminished receivers’ situation contributed to that decline — in a season that included zero 300-yard passing performances, as well as thumb, knee and rib injuries — but Rodgers’ value doesn’t was perhaps not what it was when the topic of trade first surfaced. Draft 2021.
A no-trade clause is not present in Rodgers’ contract, but he would certainly sign his destination before the Packers move him. The Jets, who traded for Favre while they were owners Woody Johnson, have long been connected with the acquisition of a veteran. The Raiders have been linked with the meeting Josh McDaniels with Tom Brady or Jimmy Garoppolo, but they were linked to Rodgers two years ago. On the receiver side, the Titans’ situation is reminiscent of Rodgers’ setup in Green Bay. But they also make sense as a pretender. A few teams will be interested, and if Rodgers is an AFC-only trade piece, that increases Derek Carr‘s chance of being distributed to an NFC team. However, Carr and Garoppolo are expected to be available in February and March respectively. It may take a team longer to land Rodgers.
The pack taking its time on a Rodgers trade, for the purpose of clearing the money, would put potential suitors up for major decisions. While the franchises will want to solidify their QB situation by April, Rodgers’ latest round of trade rumblings could dominate another offseason.